Skip to main content

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

See other formats


346        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

/is interest has consequently to be qualified by adding that there
must be many-sidedness of interest. How many sided ? As
many sided as life itself, answers Herbart In practice, however,
there is a definite limitation in the range of interests. The interests
acquired by the child in the ordinary course of life, he points
out, fall into two sets: those connected with the knowledge of
nature, which arise from acquaintance with the physical world,
and those due to intercourse with society, based on sympathy with
his fellows. Each of these, again, falls into three groups, making
altogether, six groups of the possible objects of interest: A. THE 1
KNOWLEDGE INTERESTS—(a) Empirical: the interest in facts
which may inspire the collector of curios, the botanist, the
historian, or any of the people concerned with detail; (b) Specu-
lative : the interest in seeing facts connected by general laws,
typical of the student of mathematics or logic; (c) JEsthetic:
the interest arising on contemplation of beautiful things—the
interest, for example, in sculpture or in poetry. B. THE ETHICAL
INTERESTS—(a] Sympathetic : the interest in one's fellow-men as
individuals; (b) Social: the interest in civic and national life,
especially in its organized forms; (c) Religious : the interest
men have in the Divine Being.

Applying this classification of the objects of interest in the
discussion of the curriculum of studies, Herbart divides the
school subjects into two main groups: the historical, including
history and the languages, and the scientific, including nature
study, geography and mathematics. The historical group is in
his opinion the more important of the two. The need of counter-
acting selfishness makes it necessary for every school which
undertakes the education of the whole man to place human
conditions and relations in the foreground of instruction. This
humanistic aim should underlie the study of the historical subjects,
and only with reference to this aim should they be allowed to
preponderate. At the same time, he is not disposed to under-
estimate the value of the sciences. Some of his modern disciples
have shown an ^discriminating enthusiasm for the subjects
which can be used to produce a definite moral influence, and have
treated the sciences as unimportant except in so far as they can
be brought into relation to history and literature. But this was
not Herbart's view. Without seeking to snatch at a moral result
undue taste, he was content to encourage a many-sided